Review: Trackmania 2 Stadium is the return of a fan favorite
The original Trackmania captivated players with a robust online leaderboard system, giving it an extremely competitive edge while keeping the car physics relatively loose and the track designs wild. Trackmania 2 Stadium continues that trend with not only improved graphics and physics, but an amazing track editor that allows gamers to publish and share across the Mania community.
Trackmania 2 Stadium is part of the Mania suite available on Steam, which includes the other Trackmania 2 games such as Valley and Canyon, as well as Shootmania, the highly competitive shooter built for e-sports. It's a solid system that houses all those competitive titles in one spot, giving you easy access to switch out between them as you like. However, aside from the convenience, comes the rather ugly design that its packaged up in. It's a rather clunky interface that certainly doesn't do its users any favors.
TM2 Stadium has two major components. The single-player trials mode will present you with tracks with varying degrees of difficulty, that all have a time limit attached to them. Beat the target times and you'll be awarded with Bronze, Silver or a Gold medal. Once you achieve gold, you can opt to submit your time to the online leaderboards, which will help you grow your Mania profile with points, pitting you on an ever-growing list of competitors.
The challenges start off easy, helping you get used to the handling system. However, as you complete each set of challenges, you'll get access to the more devilish ones that require precision and quick reflexes.
But the selling point of TM2 Stadium is its robust multiplayer. With the ability to hop on and challenge anyone in the world, you're able to climb the leaderboards and ranks, further adding to your Mania profile.
Racing against the clock can be fun, but it's nowhere near as exhilarating as taking on challengers online. Especially when Stadium's track layout is taken into account. Unlike standard racing games, Stadium is built on driving along slanted roads, speeding through loops and pulling off rather insane jumps, all in hopes of getting back on track in one piece.
Of course, you can't talk about Stadium -- or any Mania game, for that matter -- without mentioning the Editor capabilities. The game comes with some rather great track designs, but with the Editor, the only limit is your imagination. Thankfully it's fairly easy to use, letting you place down whacky tracks with loops and jumps to your heart's content.
Since Steam Workshop is built directly into the Mania series, it makes sharing these creations -- as well as downloading some stellar tracks from others -- a breeze.
At only $9.99, you get a great follow-up to the original Trackmania. It might not seem like its bursting with content at first, but once you delve deep into other player's tracks or start making your own, you'll find the game has seemingly endless possibilities.